After reading this article on Bon Appétit several months ago, I was excited to order a few sriracha lollipops from ThinkGeek, but then read the ingredients and thought—I can just make these myself. I would just need a basic hard candy recipe like this, and then some type of extract or flavoring to compliment and enhance the sriracha flavor.
After deciding that hot cinnamon extract would be the perfect flavor, I discovered after looking at two separate stores that this ingredient either doesn't exist or is only available online. The only other extracts I had at home were almond and vanilla, so I unscrewed each tiny bottle in one hand with the sriracha bottle in the other hand. After a deep inhale, it was clear that both extracts were completely wrong for this. I then looked through my refrigerator and cabinets, which offered no other options, then strolled into our dining room and saw it ... whisky! I placed both the sriracha and whisky bottles under my nose and inhaled, then smiled. This was it.
This was my first stab at making hard candy, but I found it to be pretty simple. I did expect a hard and glassy result, but these candies are more melty and crumbly, with a texture similar to after-dinner mints. I'm not sure if I did anything wrong, or the whisky or sriracha interfered with the hardening, but I really liked them. They ironically ended up having a flavor very similar to red hot cinnamon candies—only more intense, and with a little more darkness and depth.
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1/8 cup corn syrup
1 TB sriracha
1 TB whisky
cooking spray, for the mold
Grease a silicone mold with a little bit of cooking spray or coconut oil. (I used a mold similar to this that I found at IKEA several years ago for a dollar.) Wipe out any extra oil with a paper towel.
Combine the sugar, water and corn syrup in a small saucepan. Stir with a silicone spatula to combine, then heat over medium high heat.
Clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pan and insert the thermometer into the mixture, making sure it doesn't touch the bottom of the pan.
Watch carefully until it registers at 300 degrees. Remove it from the heat immediately.
Add in the sriracha and whisky. Stir with a silicone spatula slowly—it will steam and bubble immediately. Once it stops, pour the mixture into a glass measuring cup, then slowly pour the mixture into the compartments, filling them 3/4 full. You have to work very quickly during this step, as the mixture starts to gum up really fast—the first of the 14 compartments I filled hardened very well, while the last two I poured did not.
Allow the candies to fully harden before removing from the mold. Dust with a little powdered sugar on top if you want. Store in an airtight container.